A look at SEO through the last 4 years, and the tactics that still work today
SEO Myths Busted by MasonInteractive.com, Head of SEO. Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve been saying it for years. There is no “quick fix” when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It’s a gentle process we’ve honed, and hold so dear to our hearts at Mason Interactive. There is no golden ticket, no downloadable software, no Agency that will get you to the top of Google tomorrow. The process and the industry is ever-changing, but there is one consistent theme: credibility. Before our lesson on ethics and credibility, let’s learn a little history, shall we?
Although changes to Google’s Algorithm dates back to its inception in ‘98, a few of these major updates essentially shaped the way SEOers function (and why my team here is not obsolete–yet): December 2010: Social Signals Tweets, Google +1’s, Facebook shares and the like, (pun intended) were added into the organic ranking factors. So, the more users engage with your brand socially, the more likely your website will be in top positions in Google. Cue influx of Social Media management jobs. February 2011: Panda About 12% of search results were affected during the Panda update. Google penalized sites performing shady SEO tactics: article spinning, link farms, and other low quality maneuvers. These “quick fixes” hurt thousands of websites, many of which resulted in being completely blacklisted. April 2012: Penguin Despite another adorably named update, this one involved even more mass penalizations. Also known as the “webspam update”, Penguin targeted sites with even shadier SEO methods than Panda, like keyword stuffing, link schemes (paying someone for links), sneaky redirects, “doorway” pages, and purposeful duplicate content. August 2013: Hummingbird This update wasn’t targeted at the shady SEOer, rather it aimed to help the user experience. Queries in Google started becoming more advanced, for example, searching: “where is there a Starbucks within 18 feet in New York that still serves breakfast at 12pm?” – a far cry from “coffee in nyc”. Hummingbird aimed to cater to these ‘conversational’ searches.
So – what do all these updates have in common? You guessed it… Credibility! SEO Credibility Cycle: 1) Social Signals So we know now, in order for your website to rank higher, you need to be more active on social platforms. The only way users will engage, share with friends, and come back for more is if you supply them with what they are looking for – or in some cases, something interesting they didn’t even know they were looking for! The more shareable content you supply, the more your social footprint expands, the more your network grows, the higher your page rank, and the cycle repeats itself. You’re welcome. 2) Panda & Penguin Don’t be shady, Google will always find out. If you owned a Bakery in 2008, your website could have a homepage that said “come to NY for the best bakeries in town. The best NY bakery ever. Find a NY bakery and contact the best bakery in NY and you’ll find a bakery that serves chocolate cake, cake, cookies, chocolate cookies, the best cakes, best cakes in NY, find cookies in NY today” – and you’d probably rank in first position for “find a bakery in NY”! Ah, the good old days. 3) Hummingbird Everyone has a smartphone. Everyone needs answers. Now. Catering to long-tail ‘conversational search’ can be done by… what? Providing relevant niche information to your potential visitors! Yay credibility!
In conclusion, I don’t mean to over-simplify a day in the life of an SEOer – I won’t bore you with the job details, but it is N-E-R-D-Y. Organic marketing does truly boil down to giving the audience a reason to keep coming back to see what you have to say. If you’re not finding out what your ideal customer wants, creating content about those topics, distributing the content on all social platforms, then you my friend, will never catch up to your competitors. A static website will never win. You have to be in it to win it. Content is key! Yay puns!